Let’s Go Find the Women History Hides

Following the Crow Song

19060108_10211924738286748_4037967534773894514_nLast weekend Jackie French mesmerised and intrigued Booklinks members and the public by speaking about the women history hides to raise money for an upcoming Symposium on literature and writing centres.  This is my account of listening to her talk.

It was a shocking morning, hearing all about stabbings in London.  I could scarcely keep the tears from rolling down my face.  Oh what are we doing – humanity?  I wasn’t sure if I could leave the house, and if just a day of meditation and prayers, or a solitary walk in nature, might be the way to go.   That’s my sensitive poet’s heart; I am sure a lot of other’s people’s hearts were breaking too.

But I gave myself a stern talking to, Jackie French one of my all time favourite authors was in town, and was going to give a talk.  ‘Get on that bus June and go be with…

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Writing Group – First of Year

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I just love  my writing group.

I have been attending Write Links for three years now, and over that time, I have:

  • learnt more about the art and craft of picture book and middle grade writing
  • attended numerous professional development workshops with many established writers in the field
  • met the amazing Leigh Hobbs, whose characters my children and I grew up with
  • been on a writers’ retreat run by one of the members where I met John Marsden (who was doing a master class) and made friends with Robyn, Debbie, and many other writers
  • attended the CYA conference
  • pitched to an agent and a publisher at the CYA conference
  • made a successful ASA mentorship scholarship application and been being mentored for the last 12 months.

And those are just some of the highlights!

But one of the biggest things I love about my writing group has been the creation of some friendships that sustain me in the hours of writing.  I think of writer friends: Jocelyn, Ayesha, Ali, Jillanne, Yvonne,  Shannon, Sam, Rachelle,  Charmaine, Andrew, and Jacqui;  imagining and day dreaming,  drafting, researching, editing, writing, submitting and succeeding, submitting and being rejected, and because they just have so much passion for writing doing it all over again.

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Before and after the sessions today we were able to have a chat not only about how our creative endeavours are going, but also about life itself,  how it inspires and sometimes challenges the creative journey.

There was so much positive energy, and there’s often some great news of breakthroughs by our members.

This group of people were so supportive of Magic Fish Dreaming, and just gave me so much confidence that I could achieve my dream to have my book produced and out there.  My first supporter in the kickstarter was a Write Links member, and many, many members gave their sincere support.  Everyone is honest and I know they would not have done this if they didn’t have confidence in the book.  These are not only friendships I respect, but many are professionals, and have been traditionally published.

An unexpected treat of Saturday was a writer friend from Cairns, just happening to be passing by with her son.  Lovely to see you Carol.  The Cairns writers’ group run a fabulous festival that occurs every two year, and that I have attended twice, and they also published my poem, ‘Grumpy Fisherman’, (which became the centre piece of ‘Magic Fish Dreaming’ in my children’s poetry book) in one of their writing anthologies.  It was so fantastic to say a brief hello.  Carol could feel the warmth and energy of Write Links, and they in turn could sense I was seeing a significant fellow creative from my old home!

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I especially love chatting with dear friend Ayesha.  We both share a love of music, and poetic language.  Ayesha and I are thinking of having sing a longs between writing group meetings, and discussed mindful singing.  She showed me a book she thought I would like reding.

Music sustains me when I am having a challenging day writing, or in life.   It is great to have other common interests with my creative friends, and I am so looking forward to reading the draft of Ayesha’s novel and seeing it in print!

I love the way we believe in the value of each other’s work and keep encouraging and supporting.

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The generosity of members to share their knowledge is legendary.  At Saturday’s session Karen Tyrell  (long time member and empowerment author) and Luise Manning, both shared their knowledge on the grant application process at our first meeting of the year.

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Anyway that’s  my account of the first meeting for Write Links of the year.  Only another month to wait for the next one, or should I say to write and read my way to the next one.

A big welcome to all the new members;  here’s to a great year for all wherever you are in your writing journey.

James Moloney: Writing a Series

Ali’s write up of the James Moloney workshop many of the writelinkers and other young adult authors of Brisbane recently attended.

Spilling Ink

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With fifty books to his credit, Aussie kidlit author James Moloney has plenty of wisdom to share about writing a book series.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 10.27.34 amHis first series was The Book of Lies. Because it was originally written as a stand alone, he learned what not to do for future series.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb for the book (How good does this sound?)

The newest boy at Mrs. Timmins’s Home for Orphans and Foundlings awakes at first light with no name and no memory. But a strange girl who hides among the shadows of the orphanage tells him that a mysterious wizard’s creation, the Book of Lies, holds the answers, and then gives him one clue: “Your name is Marcel.”

The Book of Lies trilogy was followed by the Silvermay Series and the Doomsday Rats, with numerous other books and collections all around. [Buy James’s books here]

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Harry Helps Grandpa – Approaching Alzheimer’s in a Picture Book

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Karen pictured with the book

Karen Tyrrell is an award winning Brisbane based, ‘resilience ‘author, who publishes on this theme for both children and adults.   Her earlier books, like Stop the Bully,  have dealt with themes like bullying and mental health.  Harry Helps Grandpa Remember marks a slight change in direction,  in tackling the realities of dementia and their impact on family, although it still has at its heart the theme of empowerment and emotional resilience.  

Harry is about the special love between a little boy and his grandpa who has Alzheimer’s. Harry will do ANYTHING to help his grandpa remember . . .

1. June: Why do you think picture books on this topic are important?

Karen: One in six people are affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss. These stats are on the sharp incline. Children are affected by their grandparents and loved-ones affliction and need to understand the disease and how their grandparents still love them. Picture books are the perfect way to teach children coping skills for memory loss.

2. June: What does your book offer that isn’t in other books already out there?

Karen: Harry Helps Grandpa Remember is written from the children’s point of view, as a problem solving, problem verses solution challenge. Harry gently shows the realities of dementia at the same time encourages children to take an active role in their grandparent’s lives. Harry Helps Grandpa Remember teaches memory boosting skills and coping skills for the child and for the one affected.

3. June: I’ve heard about your pantomime of the book. Why did you launch it with a bit of play acting?

Dementia is a difficult subject to present to children. An interactive, multi-media pantomime displaying humour, strong emotions and a sense of fun communicates the deep messages of dementia awareness, coping skills and most of all, love. The pantomime and the actual story Harry Helps Grandpa Remember spring-boards in-depth discussion.

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Scene from the Pantomime  at one of the local launches.

4.  June: Who was involved?

Karen: Actually our writer’s group, Write Links played most of the key parts. The lead role of Harry was played by Anthony Puttee, who played Bailey in Bailey Beats the Blah, a book about lifting a child’s mood.

5.  June: As a hybrid publisher (seeking traditional publishing options but also self publishing) myself I am interested in how you found your designer and editor.

Karen: My designer, Anthony Puttee designed the cover for Harry Helps Grandpa Remember and formatted the pages too. My editor, Penny Springthorpe is an ex-Penguin editor. I worked collaboratively with her, developing the characters and the story line to the highest possible standard. Both Penny and Anthony work for Book Cover Café, who act as my publishing advisers for my imprint Digital Future Press. I’ve worked with Book Cover Café since my very first resilience book, Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness.

6.  June: What did you most like about working with them?

Karen: I loved working with all the staff of Book Cover Café in a collaborative way, bouncing ideas off each other. I independently sub-contacted illustrator Aaron Pocock to create full colour illustrations. Penny, Anthony and Aaron are all incredibly talented and creative. They’re all perfectionists too, demanding their own work is completed to the highest publishing standard.

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Harry Helps Grandpa Remember  is now on Amazon world-wide as a print Book and as an eBook.  You can also find it in many local Brisbane book stores.

ISBN: 9780987274083

Blog Tour Book Giveaway

Please leave a comment on any of the visiting sites or a chance to win a signed print copy or 5 eCopies of Harry Helps Grandpa Remember. 6 Copies to be won. 6 Winners announced 3 July.

Next Stop

The next and final stop in the blog tour is  1 July Dimity Review http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/

You can still also retrace the tour and make comments on earlier visiting sites.